Science

Eighth graders are finishing up our study of light waves with an in-depth look at vision and corrective vision measures. Last week we dissected a cow eye to help us grasp the anatomy of the eye, then moved on to studying various vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and cataracts. We also learned how these vision problems are now able to be corrected with cutting-edge technology using current knowledge of wave properties. On Monday, we will get a special presentation from eye surgeon and SPS parent, Jason Dimmig, who will share his recent work in Ethopia working to help people with the same vision problems we’ve been studying in class!

The 3rd graders were deeply engaged in Earth Day activities last week! First, we had a visit from Jackie Wilson at the Environmental Center with a specific focus on water conservation. We learned that while nearly 70% of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1% of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields.

Students also engaged in the design cycle by creating a robot out of recycled materials. They first started their project by addressing an environmental problem, then brainstorming possible solutions. Once teams decided on a best solution, they drafted different robot designs with features and tools that would help solve the problem.

Finally, on Friday, SPS parent and Forest Service employee, Kevin Foss led the third graders on an informational river walk along the Deschutes River. During the walk, 3rd graders learned about sources of rivers, and how, over time, rivers change course and carve a path through the land. What a wonderful week full of hands-on learning experiences!

Math & Science

If you attended the annual Earth Day Fair in downtown Bend last weekend, you probably noticed how wonderful the Environmental Center looked with it’s newly planted bee garden, trash-free sidewalks, and freshly spread mulch! This is largely due to the hard work our 7th graders put in last Friday for our annual Earth Day project. For nearly 3 hours last week, students worked tirelessly to make a difference in our community, and learn positive habits to help us preserve our planet. This is the second year we’ve partnered with the Environmental Center for our Earth Day volunteer mission, and we’re looking forward to continuing this partnership in the coming years. As an added bonus, students were also able to count their volunteer hours as money raised for our Sparrow, Hudson.

Language Arts

Students have been learning about the fantasy genre by reading the novel A Wrinkle in Time as a class. This has been a very fun and challenging unit for all students. Students are using what they have learned to write a short story in the fantasy genre. Like with any genre, a good story contains strong elements of character, setting, plot, and explores a theme that goes beyond the story itself. Last week students used pre-writing techniques to brainstorm possible stories. After writing a rough draft, students have been working hard to edit and add to their stories, which are due on Friday.

Additionally, students have been participating in a literature circle in a group of 3-6 students. They are reading a book of their choice and each week students take on roles such as Discussion Director, Summarizer, and Illustrator. As they read, they are looking for specific ways that the author has crafted the story. Groups will meet weekly for the next few weeks to discuss their thoughts and share their ideas. These discussions will help students as they ultimately write a comparative essay between A Wrinkle in Time and their literature circle novel.

Humanities

Our next humanities unit will begin next week and we will be studying the European Renaissance.

Math

We have started working with fractions, decimals and percents. I want students to be able to have a fluid understanding of fractions, decimals and percents. This is a great topic students can use in their everyday life. When shopping encourage students to find the best deals by finding unit rates and by understanding sale prices with percent discounts. Great life skills.

Science

Students have been making a video for the City of Bend – Clean Water Works contest. I am have been very impressed by the videos they have produced. I will be sending out links to the videos, so be on the lookout for your students video.

6th grade pancake breakfast has been a success. I appreciate all the supplies and volunteer help. Students are learning a lot of skills in the kitchen. Maybe they will even cook breakfast for you soon.

The 4th grade is buzzing about electricity and circuits!! After picking up a Squishy Circuit Trunk from the High Desert Museum, the class was off to discover what makes an electric circuit. After formulating questions, collaborative groups used materials consisting of batteries, wires, clips, LED lights, buzzers, motors, conductive dough and insulating dough to discover what makes a circuit work and what can cause a short circuit. Groups wrestled with many issues, but in the end discovered what was needed to make a complete circuit. Groups also discovered why the conductive dough allowed electric current to flow through it (salt and regular tap water containing minerals) and why the insulating dough, stopped the flow of electrons (no salt and distilled water). At this stage of the year, I revel in the ability to present a challenge, then just step back and watch the curiosity and wonder of the students take flight. I love the teamwork and flowering of ideas that transpire in the classroom. I am just a guide, it is wonderful.

Second graders immersed themselves in a week full of Earth-focused activities. The week began with a presentation from the Environmental Center. Students (and teachers) were shocked to learn that 500 tons of garbage are dumped into our Bend landfill every DAY! Students also discovered that not all items that “should” be recyclable actually are. This FAQ  page helps to de-mystify/answer recycling questions in Deschutes County. Students then created paper mache globes, a messy and fun art project. Individually, each student brainstormed three different “commitments” he/she could make to protect the Earth better: use fewer plastic bags, conserve water by taking shorter showers, or using a reusable water bottle (to name a few). Students attached these “commitments” to the bottom of their paper mache globe as a way to remember their choices have a big impact on the Earth and those around them. The week finished off with students bringing in recyclable material to create a “Recycled Robot to help conserve Earth’s resources.” Full of curiosity, creativity, and perseverance, students set out to create robots that would save animals, plant seeds, and grow grass. Each group worked through the design cycle and inspired one another to problem solve and collaborate together throughout the process.

First grade had a busy week! As Earth Day approached we spent the week learning about this wonderful place we live in and how we can be better stewards of the earth! We started the week with a visit from Smokey the Bear and the Bend fire department. They taught us all about fire safety and what we can do to help! We then had a visit from the Environmental center of Bend. The class spent time learning about recycling and composting. We even got to check out the worms that were part of the compost bins. Bringing local experts into the classroom is a great way to expose the kids to different teachers and individuals who have often time turned their passion into careers. What a fun learning week!

Family partnership at its best!

We have all heard the phrase, “It Takes a Village” and how true it is. Our Family Partnership pinnacle embodies our belief that due to involvement of parents, and beyond, our students and our school as a whole thrive immensely. Last Friday we honored all Peaks’ Parents who continue to support SPS by sharing their knowledge and time. Thank you parents for volunteering this year. We all appreciate it and can see the benefits of having you involved in your kids everyday school life. A special thanks to Giselle Beucus and Carrie Huffman, Peaks’ Parents Co-chairs, for a fantastic job organizing our volunteers and events throughout the year.

If you where unable to attend the roundup, you were certainly missed. Please take a few moments to watch a special video from your kids honoring you for your involvement in their educational experience. Also, view this slideshow capturing just some of our Peaks’ Parents “in action”. Giddy up partners…are you ready to get involved in 2017-2018? Don’t miss out on many great opportunities. Please stop by the SPS lobby and see how you can get share your passion or go to volunteer sign ups for next year.